Oddsmakers see Flyers' chances of Stanley Cup dreams improving dramatically over last month

Oddsmakers see Flyers' chances of Stanley Cup dreams improving dramatically over last month

A month ago the Flyers were a pretty longshot to win the 2014 Stanley Cup with oddsmakers giving them a 33/1 chance of a parade heading down Broad Street this summer. A red hot month of March later, one that included wins over the Penguins, Blackhawks, Blues, Stars, Kings, basically some of the best teams in the league, and oddsmakers bumped the Flyers chances of winning the Cup all the way up to 14/1.

The teams that still stand a better shot according to Bovada.lv's numbers: Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Anaheim, and the L.A. Kings. All teams the Flyers have proven they can hang with aside from maybe those mighty Ducks.

They've also moved up to be the third favorite to come out of the East behind Boston and Pittsburgh who the Flyers have looked pretty good against over the past few weeks.

Full odds below.

Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup 

                                                Odd on 3/6/14               Current

Boston Bruins                           15/2                              9/2

St. Louis Blues                          5/1                                5/1

Chicago Blackhawks                 13/2                              13/2

Pittsburgh Penguins                  13/2                              7/1

San Jose Sharks                       10/1                              8/1

Anaheim Ducks                         15/2                              10/1

Los Angeles Kings                    12/1                              12/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    33/1                              14/1

Colorado Avalanche                  20/1                              20/1

Montreal Canadiens                   25/1                              22/1

New York Rangers                     20/1                              22/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 28/1                              25/1

Detroit Red Wings                     40/1                              33/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             50/1                              40/1

Minnesota Wild                         33/1                              40/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 25/1                              50/1

Dallas Stars                              50/1                              66/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       66/1                              66/1

Washington Capitals                  40/1                              66/1

New Jersey Devils                     66/1                              150/1


Odds to Win the 2014 Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins                           8/5

Pittsburgh Penguins                  11/4

Philadelphia Flyers                    8/1

Montreal Canadiens                   10/1

New York Rangers                     10/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 12/1

Detroit Red Wings                     16/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             20/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 25/1

Washington Capitals                  33/1

New Jersey Devils                     75/1


Odds to Win the 2014 Western Conference 

St. Louis Blues                          5/2

Chicago Blackhawks                 7/2

San Jose Sharks                       17/4

Anaheim Ducks                         5/1

Los Angeles Kings                    13/2

Colorado Avalanche                  10/1

Minnesota Wild                         20/1

Dallas Stars                              33/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       33/1

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

With Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless hurt, the Sixers are still lacking a distributor, and so it makes sense that they've been in contact with the point guard-rich Timberwolves.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers and New Orleans Pelicans have shown interest in T'wolves backup point guard Tyus Jones. 

With fifth overall pick Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is set at PG. Jones, 20, is third on the totem pole a year after being drafted 24th overall. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are more inclined to trade Jones than Rubio. 

Jones has a connection to the Sixers in Jahlil Okafor, a former teammate at Duke. Both were one-and-dones for the 2014-15 National Championship team. Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Blue Devils. 

He played sparingly as a rookie last season with Minnesota (37 games), averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes, but stood out this summer, winning Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

T.J. McConnell has started the majority of the preseason at point guard for the Sixers. Sergio Rodriguez got the nod in the last game against the Pistons. Brett Brown is also looking at Nik Stauskas to fill the spot in a non-traditional role.

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Elton Brand walked out to the practice court clad in a gray suit and tie. As he approached the media with his family, the Sixers' players and staff gathered to watch and, more importantly, pay their respect to the news he was about to deliver. 

“After 17 years of playing the game that I love, and it’s been great to me, I’m officially retiring,” Brand said standing next to his wife Shahara. “It’s for real this time. It was a wonderful journey.”

Brand, 37, played 17 seasons in the NBA with a career average of 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. A two-time All-Star, he recorded four 20-and-10 seasons. 

This summer he signed his final contract, a one-year deal with the Sixers worth $980,431. Brand announced his intention to retire on Thursday and the roster move will be officially completed at the conclusion of training camp. Brand’s retirement clears up a roster space for the Sixers. 

“Me personally, playing, being out there, the mentoring role, it was great. I enjoyed it,” Brand said. “But I really couldn’t be out there giving my all after 17 years, helping the team, being in the right place on defense, and giving the coaching staff the energy they deserve from their players. I thought it was time.”

The Bulls selected Brand with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft out of Duke, a moment he considers a highlight of his career. He played his first two seasons in Chicago, followed by seven with the Clippers. The Sixers signed Brand in July of 2008. He was a member of the team for the next four years, including two playoff runs. Brand played one more season with the Bulls, followed by two with the Hawks. 

His already-lengthy NBA career appeared to be over at the end of the 2014-15 season, but he made a surprise decision to return to the league in January of 2016 with the Sixers. He appeared in 17 games last season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.2 minutes. 

While Brand was needed to log time because of injuries, including 20-plus on back-to-back nights, his biggest contribution came away from the game. The young team signed Brand to serve as a mentor to players such as fellow Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor, who struggled with off-the-court issues as a rookie. Okafor developed a big-brother relationship with Brand, talking often — and rarely about basketball itself. 

Brand shared his messages of discipline and work ethic across the locker room. He stayed late after practices to work on fundamental drills with then-rookie Richaun Holmes. On game days he often could be seen dressed in a suit, a visualization of professionalism for his teammates. At the end of the season, Brand paid for the team to take a trip to Miami. 

“We felt his presence,” Okafor said. “Having another vet in there, knowing who he is, his accolades, it was a respect factor to him. Whatever he said goes. I remember hearing his voice at halftime if we were playing poor, he would let us know about it. It was good to have somebody on your team tell you you’re playing bad rather than hearing your coach’s mouth all the time.”

Brett Brown described his emotions as "sad" when Brand informed him of his decision. In less than a year of working together, Brown has learned from Brand's NBA experiences. 

"He's as elite in class as anybody I have ever coached," Brown said, adding, "He's got the ingredients that make him, I feel, highly attractable down the road. Surely he's got stuff to offer after this is all done. Compassionate, hard-working, educated, real, tough. He was a great example for our locker room."

Brand plans to spend time away from the game and has not made any decisions on his next career move. He will be accessible to the Sixers and plans to spend time around the team but not in an official role. He has had conversations with the team about possible opportunities in the future, just not right now. 

The Sixers broke out in applause at the conclusion of Brand's announcement. He didn't know they were going to be present and joked that as the "OG" of the team, he doesn't like surprises. Brand wanted a simple no-frills gathering of media, a low-key departure from the game. It was fitting for a career based on quietly putting in hard work. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said. “But it’s definitely time now.”